By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Leonard Ngeno was born in Nakuru, Kenya on April 28 1981 in the provincial general hospital. He began his education at Normain pre unit school. After finishing, he then joined Koinange primary school. When he was in grade 5, his parents transferred him to a boarding school in Kitale called North Rift Education Centre. Afterwards, he continued his education at the Rift Valley Technical Training Institute where he studied Pharmaceutical Technology.
Upon graduating, he received his first job working as a research assistant for a retail census company. Then, he later joined a different company, the Centre for Economic and Social Research before deciding that he wanted to pursue self-employment.
As his entrepreneurial journey began, he divided his time between opening a mini pub, and also buying and selling second hand furniture. He explains, ‘I decided to to delve into this business because of the low start up cost and first flow of goods. I started this business by selling liquor with the start up capital fifteen thousand shillings. And I now rack in around a 1000 shillings profit a day. My profit mostly goes into bettering my current pub business and also buying second hand furniture for resale.’
So far, Leonard has successfully raised 7 Zidisha funded loans, allowing him to continue to expand his business. It all started with a $7 loan in October 2017 which he used to purchase additional stock for his business. That same month he raised another loan, this time for $16. His intention was to start saving and raising funds to include electrical appliances in his inventory of secondhand merchandise. He shares that his two businesses are quite different as in his pub, product and inventory moves very quickly, and with second hand furniture, it’s a much slower process.
A month later, he raised his third loan, this one for $39. He shared his appreciation for his lenders as he says, ‘This loan will directly be directed into addition of stock to my liquor business. I’d like to thank Zidisha so much since my beer and wines and spirit business is progressive and is a fast moving products business. I’m also a small scale farmer dealing in maize and Irish potatoes planting. Since this is a part time indulgence I’ve been able to invest in grading an planting of potatoes with excesses. That is after the profits from the businesses funded by Zidisha. I have been making at least a profit of about kshs 1000 a day. This has broadened my businesses and my other side hustles. My young family has been able to have a good life since your loans are so flexible and is separated in good installment that is easier to settle than other loans available. Thank you Zidisha again for your help it would have been difficult to reach this level without your help.’
As the year came to a close, Leonard raised his next loan of $66. He shared that he hopes to continue to diversify his pub inventory by adding bottled beer to his stock. He also shared how he hopes to use his entrepreneurial skills to help his brothers and sisters as he details to lenders, ‘I have younger brothers and sisters who I intend to help be self reliant. I have been in business for a while now and I intend to help them start their own business. I intend to increase my profits by adding bottled beer. With my current credit limit it can buy me two crates of beer. I expect to improve with Zidisha. As you can read from my profile I have practiced pharmacy and I intent to leave my current business to my brother when the stock is stable and the business is debt free. I intend to venture into the pharmacy business. Thanks Zidisha once more.’
In less than a year, Leonard and his family were already reaping the benefits of his Zidisha partnership. Through his businesses, he is able to help financially support his sister who is studying Mass Communications at Mt. Kenya University. While his parents pay for her school fees, Leonard is able to help her with the funds for transportation and books. Through his next loan of $82 in February 2018, he was able to purchase 8 new plastic chairs at the price of $10 per chair to accommodate his growing customer base.
He also shares this update, ‘Hello my lenders, I would first and foremost like to thank Zidisha for their continued funding for my projects. I would like to thank Zidisha because without their help I would be struggling. By funding my business I have been able to make a profit that has helped me be able to help my siblings. It has also helped me to invest other profits in farming. I am now preparing seed nurseries to plant a variety of vegetables.’
Most recently, in May 2018, he funded a loan for $223. As the pub side of his business continued to prosper, he set his sights on improving his guest rooms that he rented out as the mattresses were worn out. With 8 guest rooms available, he predicted that by purchasing new mattresses and blankets, he would be able to receive $3.50 per room per day.
So far, Leonard has successfully shown his ability to pivot and diversity his business efforts. He says, ‘I’m a proud member of the Zidisha family, I have read of many Zidisha success stories and I’m proud to be part of the story. I hope to grow to the level of self actualization with the help of Zidisha and lenders at large.’ Through this partnership, he has also been able to help his family and is hoping to create a legacy and build businesses that his brothers and sisters can continue to operate throughout the community.
If you would like to be part of a story like Leonard’s, head on over to our Lend Page to read about other men and women who are excelling with Zidisha!